A Message from Rabbi Kedar 07.14

It’s very quiet in my apartment. The music is soothing, peaceful, calming, moving.  The blinding summer sun ignites the hills, in contrast to the gentle, inspiring breeze that is Jerusalem air.

Contrasts. Paradoxes. Confusion. Sickening. We so wanted the moral high ground.

The extreme element has been emboldened. And now children who are misguided by a sense of honor and national pride, kill children. Mohammad Abu Khdeir’s murder was savage.  Do you understand that among the six Israeli Jews that have been detained for his murder there are minors? The rhetoric of hate ignites rage and evil acts of violence.  This is not the way to mourn the deaths of Gil-Ad Shaer, Naftali Frenkel, and Eyal Yifrach. This is not how we comfort their grieving families. This is insane.

This is a tough neighborhood and it is getting tougher by the day. We who are on the side of peace and justice must not make the mistake of applying our reasoning to the enemies of peace and justice. We do not think the same way. Last night I was talking to a colleague and he said, “Why would the Arabs continue to riot? We have arrested the Jews responsible.” And yet, riots abound this morning. And let us not forget, that despite the pain that came with the truth, we have arrested the Jews who are responsible for the brutal murder of Mohammad Abu Khdeir, while the murderers of Gil-Ad, Naftali and Eyal enjoy the apparent protection of the Palestinian Authority.

We are now experiencing violence on four fronts: on the roads and hills that border the villages and towns of the Israeli Arabs; the Israeli kibbutzim, cities and towns that are near the southern border with Gaza; the West Bank, and the northern border with Syria. Riots, rockets, stones, rubber bullets, RPG missiles, Molotov cocktails, demonstrations, burning tires, cries and chanting of hate and vengeance.

And yet, I cannot deny the quiet in my apartment. And down in the city as well. Today I think I’ll get some pictures framed, try a new restaurant for lunch and maybe even dinner, enjoy the company of friends, walk around the streets and alleys of Jerusalem. And on the top of every hour I will listen to the news.  I live the ultimate Israeli paradox; my day is routine and normal even in this tense and frightening environment. I am very sad and on edge and I have sparks of hope. I can’t help it. Maybe sanity will return to the hearts of men, maybe the day will bring quiet in the towns and villages, maybe there will be a cease-fire with Gaza. The sun is bright, hot and the breeze….

 Rabbi Karyn Kedar